Allergies have been rising steeply in recent years for many reasons that even experts cannot explain why. There’s a big chance that you or a member of your immediate family has developed one or more forms of allergies that may be seasonal or chronic in nature. A commonly prescribed course of action, other than obviously avoiding allergy triggers, is to take an antihistamine to improve the symptoms and, in the case of blocked nasal passages, you may be prescribed a decongestant. The use of alternative medicine for the treatment of allergies has definitely been explored in recent years, that includes using acupuncture, ayurveda, homeopathy, and topical application of essential oils for allergies.
Causes of allergic reactions
Allergies can be triggered by a broad listing of “allergens” which refers to any particle or substance that causes you to experience an allergic reaction like sneezing, watery eyes, itchy skin, swollen membranes, and flaky skin.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, allergies affect as much as 30 per cent of adult Americans and 40 per cent of American children. Based on allergy prevalence statistics provided by the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) showing allergy prevalence in the past 12 months among children under 18 years old in the US:
- Hay fever affected 8.4 per cent
- Respiratory allergies affected 10.1 per cent
- Food allergies affected 5.7 per cent
- Skin allergies affected 12 per cent
During the same period, CDC also reports that 20 million adult Americans were affected by hay fever.
Common triggers include:
- Animal dander
- Feces of dust mites
- Insect sting
- Foods such as milk and other dairy products, peanuts and soy
- Sodium Nitrate present in processed animal meat
- Harsh chemicals, artificial dyes, and synthetic fragrances in skin and other personal products
List of essential oils for allergies
Below are 8 of the most useful essential oils for the treatment of some of the most common ailments and allergies:
1. Peppermint Oil. Undoubtedly one of the most effective essential oils for headaches, peppermint oil is also one of the most fast acting essential oils for itchy skin. It is also widely used as a home remedy for the relief of respiratory ailments, including respiratory allergies. Use topically to rub on the throat, chest and back. You can also safely add 1 or 2 drops to water or tea to relieve itchy throat and irritated nasal passages. Diffuse up to 5 drops in a basin of boiling water or a humidifier to help unclog congestion.
2. Basil Oil. Love basil on your pasta? You will be happy to note that it has strong antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties that help regulate your body’s reaction to an allergen. It is one of the most accessible essential oils for asthma too. Dilute a few drops in coconut oil or olive oil then apply to your chest, back and throat for instant respiratory relief.
3. Eucalyptus Oil. One of the most effective essential oils for runny nose and relief for sinuses, this essential oil produces a cold and minty sensation that helps relieve allergic and inflamed nasal pathways. The best way to use this is by inhaling it deeply. Put in a few drops in a bowl of boiling water or diffuse in a humidifier.
4. Lavender Oil. Among the most potent essential oils for hives, lavender oil is well-recognized for its therapeutic effect for improving mood and state of mind. It is also one of the best essential oils for itching. However, lavender allergy is also common so make sure to patch test before using.
5. Tea Tree Oil. Used widely as an antiseptic, tea tree oil is also one of the most effective essential oils for itching as well as one of the best essential oils for skin rash relief. It is a great way to treat as well as prevent allergies. Simply diffuse a few drops in a humidifier to improve respiratory allergies or, topically apply a diluted portion to affected skin. Tea Tree Oil allergy is common so make sure to patch test before using.
6. Lemon Oil. It helps improve essential oils for rashes caused by airborne allergens by clearing up your indoor air from harmful microorganisms while also improving your body’s immune response. Simply diffuse.
7. Frankincense Oil. It has strong antiseptic and disinfectant properties that makes it a good anti-itch essential oil and also an essential oil for itchy dogs. Use it also for the relief of cough.
8. Clove Oil. This has strong antioxidant properties that enhances your immune response and also has powerful anti-inflammatories that help relieve irritated skin. Apply topically.
Risks and potential complications of using essential oils
Despite essential oils for allergies being potentially beneficial, keep in mind that these can also cause adverse reactions if not used properly. Some of these untoward effects include burning your skin, causing even more severe allergies, phototoxicity, and blistering.
Here are a number of tips on how you can make use of the best essential oils for allergies without actually hurting yourself even more:
- Make sure to source your essential oils from a well-reputed supplier only.
- Do not use essential oils that you do not fully understand.
- Use recommended essential oil allergy blend ratios to dilute your essential oils using carrier oils.
- Always perform a patch test to check for any allergic reaction to essential oils.
- Be aware that different essential oils for allergies have varying properties — some may cause photosensitivity, breakdown in sunlight or, cause a cool, skin burning sensation which may affect how your skin reacts.
When it comes to using essential oils, it’s never enough to just ask, “What essential oils are good for allergies?” It is just as important for you to know how to use them and how much you should be ingesting, inhaling or, applying topically on your skin, simply because these can cause harm in as much as these can be beneficial to you.